Manny Harris made a debut like no other in school history.
In his first varsity start, Copperas Cove’s junior quarterback broke Robert Griffin III’s school record for most passing yards in a game, while simultaneously setting a new benchmark for passing attempts in a game.
The breakout performance was only the start.
Harris earned all-state recognition after the Bulldawgs finished the season ranked first among Class 5A teams in total yards per game, averaging 518.9 yards to go along with 46.7 points per game.
Individually, Harris accounted for 388.9 yards of total offense, completing 62 percent of his passes en route to a single-season school record of 3,775 yards, while also leading the Bulldawgs with 503 rushing yards.
His efforts earned him a share of the District 8-5A MVP award, and helped the Bulldawgs reach the playoffs for a 10th consecutive season.
“I couldn’t have done any of this without my team,” he said. “I have to give all the praise, honor and glory to God because he helped me achieve everything.”
Copperas Cove senior receiver Phillip Baptiste joined Harris on the all-state team, something Bulldawgs coach Jack Welch never envisioned.
“When you see your receiver and quarterback get those kind of accolades, you are proud for them because they had to have the talent and ability to do that,” he said. “We had a brand new offensive line — brand new — and yet, when we finished the 10th game, we were the No. 1 offense in the state of Texas.”
Despite having months before beginning his senior season, Harris knows he must start preparing immediately to provide a proper encore to his breakout debut. “I’ve got to get better. You can’t settle for where you are at.”